Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Magen David Adom (MDA) medical worker takes COVID-19 rapid antigen tests from Israeli children at a temporary COVID-19 test station outside the Science Museum in Jerusalem, on August 19, 2021.

Israel is facing a shortage of coronavirus tests, but Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in opening remarks at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that the government is working on it.

Some 1.5 million testing kits have already been sent to retirement homes “where they are most in demand,” Bennett said, adding that each child in Israeli preschools and primary schools, plus all the teachers, will receive three free test kits as well.

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“We took care to deliver stocks to schools in a timely manner and these kits are now being used to alleviate the burden on parents,” Bennett said, adding that officials are also in contact with the pharmacy chains to lower the prices of the home tests.

“We intend to open the possibility of sales to organizations or in stores other than pharmacies,” he said.

“The prices will go down in the near future in any case because the market will be flooded with millions of kits that will reach Israel,” Bennett said, adding that he is “aware that the situation is not easy.”

Health Ministry Approves New Sites for Sale of Antigen Tests
Following the request of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health, and after consultation with the professionals in the Ministry of Health,

Health Ministry Director-General Professor Nachman Ash is set to approve the temporary marketing of antigen tests in resposne to a request by the prime minister and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, the ministry said in a statement Sunday night.

Sale of the antigen (rapid) COVID-19 test kits will be approved in marketing networks that will meet the following conditions:

  • A business with a valid business license for the sale of food and beverages, except for a butcher shop.
  • The business will sell antigen kits exclusively in their original packaging.
  • The business will store the antigen tests under proper storage conditions separately from any other merchandise that may adversely affect their quality such as unpackaged food, vegetables or fruits or cleaning products.
  • Antigen kits will be stored in a shaded area protected from sunlight and any other heat source, to ensure their quality is maintained.
  • The temperature in the storage place and in the business will not drop below two degrees Celsius (36.5 Farenheit) and will not exceed 25 degrees Celsius (77 Farenheit). To maintain the temperature, an air conditioner with temperature control will be installed and will be turned on as needed.

The directive is to be implemented in the coming days and will be valid until April 15, 2022.

“We are opening up the market, and we will allow the sale of home antigen tests in the retail chains as well, in addition to pharmacies and pharmacies,” the health minister said in a statement.

“This will make the tests accessible and significantly reduce the price to the public.

“I thank the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Prof. Nachman Ash, and the professionals in the ministry, for the professional and effective support for this important move.

“Since the outbreak, the Ministry of Health has repeatedly shown professional, courageous and determined conduct, and I am very proud of them,” Horowitz added.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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